Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth-century China

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Stanford University Press, 1996 - History - 256 pages
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This book, the first work in English on the history of disease in China, traces an epidemic of bubonic plague that began in Yunnan province in the late eighteenth century, spread throughout much of southern China in the nineteenth century, and eventually exploded on the world scene as a global pandemic at the end of the century.

The author finds the origins of the pandemic in Qing economic expansion, which brought new populations into contact with plague-bearing animals along China’s southwestern frontier. She shows how the geographic diffusion of the disease closely followed the growth of interregional trading networks, particularly the domestic trade in opium, during the nineteenth century. A discussion of foreign interventions during plague outbreaks along China’s southern coast links the history of plague to the political impact of imperialism on China, and to the ways in which European cultural representations of the Chinese influenced the theory and practice of colonial medicine.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
MAPS
12
Recorded epidemics in Yunnan 18547o
37
The West River system
52
Transport routes in western Guangdong ca 185o
58
Recorded Epidemics Along the West River System
64
Plague diffusion along transport routes in western Guangdong
67
2O The Southeast Coast macroregion ca 1893
74
Estimated deaths due to plague in the Fuzhou regionalcity
91
A festival to drive out the epidemic
114
Medical charity of the Renjishantang
132
Conclusion
165
Patterns of Plague Morbidity and Mortality
175
Notes
191
Works Cited
213
A Names Terms and Titles
233

Annual precipitation and average temperatures in Fujian
82
Recorded Plague Epidemics in the Xiamen RegionalCity Trading
86
Plague diffusion through the Fuzhou regionalcity trading
89

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About the author (1996)

Carol Benedict is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University.

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